Despite the current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the economy of Cebu Province continues to be financially stable and capable of spending funds for different developmental projects.
In her Message of Hope during the Province's 451st Founding Anniversary celebration Thursday, August 6, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia disclosed that over 250 kilometers of provincial roads are expected to be completed by the end of year 2020.
“And so, may I now say, that even as we face the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue with all our infrastructure projects that are part of the 2020 (annual) budget. So that today, every municipality and every component city in all of the seven districts in the Province of Cebu has ongoing road concreting projects,” the governor stated.
Road concreting projects in 100 barangays across the Province are ongoing and the Capitol continues to identify more barangay roads to be included.
The Province of Cebu stood at P34,528,151,645.89 total assets based on the 2018 financial statement submitted to the Commission on Audit (COA).
A year after, an increase of 168,445,470,246.34 was recorded. This is attributed to the reappraisal of existing provincial properties.
“In 2019, as of December 31st, the total assets of the Province of Cebu, now stands at P202, 973,621,892.23 or an increase from 2018 to 2019 of P168,445,470,246.34,” she said.
“Apan unsa may buot ipasabot niini, alang sa atong kaigsuonan nga atua sa mga kabukiran or kaha atua sa atong mga isla. Mga piguras rani. These figures mean nothing if the lives of Cebuanos in far-off mountain barangays, in far-off islets are not touched,” she stressed.
The Provincial Government’s water projects in the towns are to be bid out already. In fact, the water project in the municipality of Carmen is scheduled for bidding in the next few days.
Even with a 50-percent workforce, Garcia assured that the Provincial Capitol is doing everything "humanly” possible to achieve all of the projects that the Cebuanos have long deserved.
“Rest assured, laumi pinalangga kong mga Sugbuanon, naningkamot kita. Nasayod ako, kadaghanan ninyo naghulat, kadaghanan ninyo nangutana kanus-a mahuman. Tagai tag gamay’ng panahon,” she stated.
The governor also emphasized the need to promptly resuscitate Cebu Province's economy after four months of lockdown as the Capitol cannot spend all its resources to sustain the lockdowns.
“We are looking forward to a brighter and better tomorrow. And as we do that, we are focusing on the agriculture and agribusiness,” she said, adding that she had created an enhanced countryside development (ECD) council to oversee and implement the programs for the development of Cebu's 44 towns and six component cities.
Garcia said she had a series of meetings with the three government financial institutions such as the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines, and the Philippine Veterans Bank so they can put up agricultural funds to be availed of by the small, medium, and large scale farms.
The governor also asked the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) members to help revive the micro and small enterprises which were greatly affected by the pandemic.
Aware of the depleting legislative funds used to buy rice and other needs in the districts, Garcia committed to allocate funds for each PB member to hand out aid.
“I ask you now, our 18 Provincial Board members, to help me in reaching out to our micro and small enterprises, as we will allocate P5 million per Provincial Board member. We hope that the P5 million can be put to good use following the guidelines of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as regards in helping or even putting up of micro and small enterprises,” she stated.
Garcia added that she will be allocating P15 million for the office of Vice Governor Hilario Davide III, who has a much larger area to cover.
“Duna tay guidelines sa DTI. In fact, gisugdan na kini sa 3rd district kung diin ang micro nga mga magpapatigayon tabangan kutob sa kantidad nga P6,000,” she said. She tasked the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office to come up with the Province's own mechanics on the revival of micro and small enterprises.
Garcia added that the Province will be downloading P2.5 million to each of the local government units (LGUs) which will include P500,000 for their Sugbusog projects; P500,000 for nurseries to be put up for the cultivation, propagation, and eventual distribution of calamansi seedlings, turmeric, and ginger; P1 million for the purchase of vitamins to be distributed to their constituents; and another P500,000 for the purchase of air purifiers with hepa filters and ionizers as well as ultraviolate (UV) sterilizing lamps to be distributed to all of public offices in the municipality and barangay health stations.
Davide expressed his gratitude to Garcia for augmenting the Provincial Board's budget, including his office.
“Ato nang planuhon nga matabangan ang small and microbusinesses,” he said.
Liloan Mayor and League of the Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter President Christina Frasco also thanked the governor for the continued support to the LGUs as well as to the Cebuanos. (Mylen Manto)